Constructivism: Increasing Student Engagement

susan_gaerSusan Gaer

Constructivism is an educational philosophy that became popular in the early 1990s. The basic framework of constructivism is that students create their own learning; that is, we can’t teach students to learn – they have to learn for themselves. Using this framework, teachers take on the role of facilitator, and each student learns what he or she needs to. This fits in well with the new Bloom’s taxonomy where creating becomes the most powerful rung on the taxonomy ladder. Constructivist learning also fits right in with multi-level instruction and flipped learning.

Constructivist theory posits that there is no learning unless learners have created it from experiences; therefore, when using the constructivist approach, you are also creating a more engaged classroom that is student centered. Here are a few techniques that I use to make my classroom more constructivist. Continue reading

Fresh Beginnings, Blended Learning and FLIPping

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

In few professions do you get start over every year, every semester, or quarter.  It’s a wonderful thing, and one of the best parts about teaching.  As we begin anew, it gives us an opportunity to try new techniques, materials, employ those innovative strategies on a fresh group of learners.  It was a few years back that I decided to try something new—blended learning.  Extending my students’ learning experiences has not only proved valuable to their learning, but has allowed me to become the kind of classroom teaching I have always wanted to be.

Some of you may have been following my articles on blended learning and flipping your ESL classroom, some of you may have been decided to make that leap.  For those still on the fence, or wanting to know more, I thought I would review some of the finer points I covered in the last few newsletters. Continue reading

Flipping Bloom:
What Flipped Learning Can Mean for ESL Students

susan_gaerSusan Gaer

I have thought about writing this for quite some time. What is flipped learning? In 1948 Benjamin Bloom developed Bloom’s Taxonomy. This taxonomy determined learning. There were six tiers to get through and students needed to progress through the first tier before moving on to the second, and so on. Continue reading